Illinois Football Recruiting Thread

#1      
Admin
Welcome to the Illinois Football Recruiting Thread :illinois:

2022 Illini Football Commits

1) OL Joey Okla (February 5th, 2021)
2) QB Donovan Leary (March 29th, 2021)
3) OL Hunter Whitenack (April 16th, 2021)
4) WR Hank Beatty (April 17th, 2021)
5) OL Clayton Leonard (April 18th, 2021)
6) TE Owen Anderson (April 28th, 2021)
7) TE Henry Boyer (April 29th, 2021)
8) RB Jordan Anderson (April 29th, 2021)
9) LB Malachi Hood (June 7th, 2021)
10) WR Eian Pugh (June 23rd, 2021)
11) WR Ashton Hollins (June 30th, 2021)
12) OL Matt Fries (July 2nd, 2021)
13) LB Jared Badie (July 4th, 2021)
14) RB Aidan Laughery (July 14th, 2021)
15) WR Shawn Miller (July 17th, 2021)
 
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#2      
Not Iowa
This is a great start, and doesn't include some quality transfers. The only "oof" to me was when that lineman from Marist chose to go play for the Barneys. Seemed like a Bielema kind of slobberknocker type, but you can't win them all. Love the Land of Lincoln flavor already in this class, as it tells the HS coaches its more than just talk. It will take a few years, but if the staff keeps this up, 3-4 years from now we will be a legitimate finalist for every IL HS stud... in spite of 5 recent years of radio silence.
 
#4      
This is a great start, and doesn't include some quality transfers. The only "oof" to me was when that lineman from Marist chose to go play for the Barneys. Seemed like a Bielema kind of slobberknocker type, but you can't win them all. Love the Land of Lincoln flavor already in this class, as it tells the HS coaches its more than just talk. It will take a few years, but if the staff keeps this up, 3-4 years from now we will be a legitimate finalist for every IL HS stud... in spite of 5 recent years of radio silence.
the Barneys?
barney.gif
 
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#6      
DocMorgan (from old Thread): Haven’t heard from Title in a couple of months. Kinda wondering his opinion on BB’s recruiting to this point.




Conspiracy theory. Title is Terry Hawthorne.
No, I’m not Terry Hawthorne LOL.
Illinois high schools had their spring season so I have been pretty busy. So far so good with BB. He clearly knows what type of players her wants which will go a long way.
I assume it is clear that if you actually recruit the state, players will come.
 
#9      
Good to be posting. I have been reading the threads but little time to actually post. Great things are happening right now and it’s good to see .
Title, did the ESL coaches (Sunkett, et al) have any reaction to BB hiring Terry H. for a role on the staff? I assume, in general, they are happy for Terry. I know it also means UI can't really sign an ESL recruit until the '23 class. So, mixed emotions from that standpoint.
 
#10      
Title, did the ESL coaches (Sunkett, et al) have any reaction to BB hiring Terry H. for a role on the staff? I assume, in general, they are happy for Terry. I know it also means UI can't really sign an ESL recruit until the '23 class. So, mixed emotions from that standpoint.
Very happy for Hawthorne as this is something he was very interested in. As far as recruits, there really wasn’t any kids in the 22 class that would have chosen Illinois before the hiring so I would say no real issues there. In the 23 class there is some opportunity if BB and staff are interested. No real movement thus far however that doesn’t mean things won’t change in the future.
 
#11      
Cincinnati, OH
It's very early and these in-state rankings are subject to change (and could be fairly inconsistent compared to past years because of lack of participation) but I wanted to do a comparison of commitments from State of Illinois top-25 recruits since 2010 (Nearing sunset on Zook's tenure) to now to show the changes over the years on importance of in-state recruiting (also gets a little whacky on deciding which class belongs to whom, so I stuck with Lovie's final class being the 2021 class):


2010 (Zook's 5th class)
Number of in-state recruits: 3 (#7, #20, #25)

2011 (Zook's final class)
Number of in-state recruits: 4 (#10, #15, #18, #20)

2012 (Beckman's 1st class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 1 (#15)

2013 (Beckman's 2nd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 3 (#6, #12, #20)

2014 (Beckman's 3rd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 1 (#25)

2015 (Beckman's final class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 5 (#2, #6, #20, #21, #23)

2016 (Cubit's only class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 0

2017 (Lovie's 1st class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 4 (#6, #8, #14, #19)

2018 (Lovie's 2nd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 3 (#13, #20, #24)

2019 (Lovie's 3rd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 1 (#13)

2020 (Lovie's 4th class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 0

2021 (Lovie's final class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 0

2022 (Bielema's 1st class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 3 (#20, #24, #25)


Some trends that stand out:

(1) Zook and Beckman started moving more toward in-state recruiting as their tenure progressed (likely for different reasons - Zook's national outlook was waning and started to look more in-state to shore up the roster deficiencies while Beckman likely started to gain success from in-roads made with HS coaches) compared to Lovie who took the opposite approach.

(2) Lovie's drought from 2019-21 for in-state recruits is incredible (for all of the wrong reasons).

(3) Illinois has only snagged 1 top-5 in-state recruit in the past 11 years (Megginson). The one before him is now on staff (Hawthorne was #2 in 2009). That's 1-for-55. Bielema is making a step towards re-opening the gate for in-state recruits but he needs to solve the puzzle of getting top-5 Illinois recruits that Lovie couldn't and Beckman only achieved once. Barring something unforeseen with Sebastian Cheeks this year, we are looking at 2022 at the earliest before ending that streak.
 
#12      
It's been a pretty rare occurrence when UI lands a top 5 in state prospect, even when the team has been good. Our sweet spot has been in the next tier of guys - high 3*'s with a few 4*'s mixed in, along with a few good players from St. Louis and other areas in which we have a good relationship - Florida under Zook, Texas under Mackovic, California under White
 
#13      
Cincinnati, OH
It's been a pretty rare occurrence when UI lands a top 5 in state prospect, even when the team has been good. Our sweet spot has been in the next tier of guys - high 3*'s with a few 4*'s mixed in, along with a few good players from St. Louis and other areas in which we have a good relationship - Florida under Zook, Texas under Mackovic, California under White

Rankings start to get a little shaky pre-2008 on 247 but I'll assume that Martez Wilson (lock), Josh Brent (lock), Graham Pocic (probably), Marques Wilkins (iffy), and Anthony Morris (iffy) were all top five in-state prospects or strongly in the running from 2006-2008. Zook did better with in-state recruiting than we remember.

I also am a believer in that Illinois does better in certain areas of the state and is somewhat dependent on where the top recruits are located regarding their success rate on landing them. It does change over time (Minny has done much better in the west suburbs since Fleck arrived) so hopefully Bielema can build some connections in important areas and improve his chances of landing a couple top-5 ranked recruits every year (but at this point I'll settle for one every two years).
 
#14      
It's very early and these in-state rankings are subject to change (and could be fairly inconsistent compared to past years because of lack of participation) but I wanted to do a comparison of commitments from State of Illinois top-25 recruits since 2010 (Nearing sunset on Zook's tenure) to now to show the changes over the years on importance of in-state recruiting (also gets a little whacky on deciding which class belongs to whom, so I stuck with Lovie's final class being the 2021 class):


2010 (Zook's 5th class)
Number of in-state recruits: 3 (#7, #20, #25)

2011 (Zook's final class)
Number of in-state recruits: 4 (#10, #15, #18, #20)

2012 (Beckman's 1st class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 1 (#15)

2013 (Beckman's 2nd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 3 (#6, #12, #20)

2014 (Beckman's 3rd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 1 (#25)

2015 (Beckman's final class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 5 (#2, #6, #20, #21, #23)

2016 (Cubit's only class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 0

2017 (Lovie's 1st class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 4 (#6, #8, #14, #19)

2018 (Lovie's 2nd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 3 (#13, #20, #24)

2019 (Lovie's 3rd class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 1 (#13)

2020 (Lovie's 4th class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 0

2021 (Lovie's final class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 0

2022 (Bielema's 1st class)
Number of top-25 in-state recruits: 3 (#20, #24, #25)


Some trends that stand out:

(1) Zook and Beckman started moving more toward in-state recruiting as their tenure progressed (likely for different reasons - Zook's national outlook was waning and started to look more in-state to shore up the roster deficiencies while Beckman likely started to gain success from in-roads made with HS coaches) compared to Lovie who took the opposite approach.

(2) Lovie's drought from 2019-21 for in-state recruits is incredible (for all of the wrong reasons).

(3) Illinois has only snagged 1 top-5 in-state recruit in the past 11 years (Megginson). The one before him is now on staff (Hawthorne was #2 in 2009). That's 1-for-55. Bielema is making a step towards re-opening the gate for in-state recruits but he needs to solve the puzzle of getting top-5 Illinois recruits that Lovie couldn't and Beckman only achieved once. Barring something unforeseen with Sebastian Cheeks this year, we are looking at 2022 at the earliest before ending that streak.
Thanks for the research. Good stuff. Scott Richey did an article on the top 10 recruits from Illinois in 2018: https://www.news-gazette.com/sports...cle_756985c0-e7d1-5c70-9908-1c8ac033bd11.html
 
#15      
Rankings start to get a little shaky pre-2008 on 247 but I'll assume that Martez Wilson (lock), Josh Brent (lock), Graham Pocic (probably), Marques Wilkins (iffy), and Anthony Morris (iffy) were all top five in-state prospects or strongly in the running from 2006-2008. Zook did better with in-state recruiting than we remember.

I also am a believer in that Illinois does better in certain areas of the state and is somewhat dependent on where the top recruits are located regarding their success rate on landing them. It does change over time (Minny has done much better in the west suburbs since Fleck arrived) so hopefully Bielema can build some connections in important areas and improve his chances of landing a couple top-5 ranked recruits every year (but at this point I'll settle for one every two years).
Looking at Rivals - 2006 we had Juice #2, Chris James #4 and Wilkins #6.
2007 - Tez #1, Brent #4, Morris #5, Cornell #10
2008 - Pocic #5, LeShoure #10
2009 - Hawthorne #1, buchanan #7, Buckner #8, Hill #9
This was probably our best 4 year stretch in our history in state, or at least since the days of Grabowski and Butkus. Starting in 2010 we fell into the abyss
 
#16      
2008 LeShoure #10. Rating's can be off some times but Pocic at 5 who else was rated higher? Sure glad we got both of them. Wow glory days, let's get the recruits and Win with them!!
 
#19      
Looking at Rivals - 2006 we had Juice #2, Chris James #4 and Wilkins #6.
2007 - Tez #1, Brent #4, Morris #5, Cornell #10
2008 - Pocic #5, LeShoure #10
2009 - Hawthorne #1, buchanan #7, Buckner #8, Hill #9
This was probably our best 4 year stretch in our history in state, or at least since the days of Grabowski and Butkus. Starting in 2010 we fell into the abyss
For all the complaints on Zooks tenure here, this is a pretty nice haul.
 
#23      
the ole ball coach
For all the complaints on Zooks tenure here, this is a pretty nice haul.
recruiting is 99.5% sales. you are selling yourself, the school, the team , the college experience at State U.

may of us in sales have learned what it takes in your industry to close. it includes telling the truth 100% of the time, never lie because it is too easy to get caught , and yet still over promise. Figure out a way later to deliver on that promise. If selling to more than one person , determine who is the real decision maker and focus on them - often it is not the 18 year old lad, but his mother or father or his coach.

What in the world did Zook tell these people ?
was he just such an awesome in person speaker in one on one situations that he was magic?
He just didnt strike me as that kind of person when on TV, in front of a group. To be fair, he had a larger than life persona as a tough guy, but he didnt come across as "magic"
 
#24      
And I am not is sales, but Zook seems like an earnest and honest guy. That "sells" well to many, including me. My kids were recruited, but no to be pro-caliber. People who were honest and took care of people appealed to me (as a parent). And I believe the coaches my kids played for did a nice job taking care of them. Not setting them up for fame and fortune, or overplaying their role or potential, but saw quality kids who made a program better. We want that, and 5*'s athletes at Illinois, which is the goal. I do not think my kids coaches sold them short. They knew who they were and what they could do, while aspiring for more as a possibility. The possibility was there, but the promise to get you there was not. Fair enough.
 
#25      
Did the Zooker know there even was a clock? May have confused it with baseball, golf, tennis, etc...
Pont of little interest: there's a clock in golf and tennis, too. Both penalize slow play. I guess that leaves baseball.